Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump dissolves commission investigating his unproven claims of voter fraud

Trump dissolves commission investigating his unproven claims of voter fraud

Trump convened the commission in May to investigate the 2016 presidential election after repeatedly making unsubstantiated claims that between 3 million and 5 million illegally cast ballots had cost him the popular vote.

Leaders from dozens of states including Democratic-leaning bastions such as NY and Trump-won Republican states such as Texas, either refused to comply with the commission requests completely or rejected them in part citing privacy laws.

Trump added that states should move towards voter I.D. laws, which Republicans have adopted but critics argue disenfranchises poor and minority citizens less likely to have state identification. Trump's statement gave no indication what could happen to the sensitive voter files in the commission's possession, which the GAO said number in the tens of millions.

"Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action", Trump said in a statement.

Trump said the commission's work will now go to the Department of Homeland Security.

The panel was headed by Vice President Mike Pence, along with Kris Kobach, who as Kansas Secretary of State runs elections in that state and who has long urged new voting restrictions.

The White House announced the dissolution in a press release, citing many states' refusal to turn over information needed for the inquiry as the impetus for disbanding the commission.

Trump said in tweets early Thursday that the states, mostly Democratic leaning, "fought hard that the Commission not see their records or methods because they know that many people are voting illegally".

Yet state and local officials said they refused to cooperate with the commission because of privacy concerns as well as the fact there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

While there have been isolated cases of people voting illegally, and many voter rolls contain outdated data, there is no evidence voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States or has affected election results. Most complaints were about voter data and the commission's lack of transparency.

Before Trump took office, Kobach took a proposal into a meeting with the president-elect laying out ideas for changing federal laws to make it easier for states to impose such requirements.

Though no evidence suggests that a significant number of U.S. citizens illegally voted in 2016, voter registration is not without its quirks.

Trump formed the commission last May to examine the USA electoral system for evidence of large-scale voter fraud. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the commission in December to stop withholding documents from the panel's Democratic members.

Along the way, the commission sparked at least 15 lawsuits in federal and state courts, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

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